BSD2 is a Rubisco specific assembly chaperone, forms intermediary hetero‐oligomeric complexes and is non‐limiting to growth in tobacco
The folding and assembly of Rubisco large and small subunits into L8S8holoenzyme in chloroplasts involves many auxiliary factors, including the chaperone BSD2. Here we identify apparent intermediary Rubisco‐BSD2 assembly complexes in the model C3‐plant tobacco. We show BSD2 and Rubisco content decrease in tandem with leaf age with approximately half of the BSD2 in young leaves (~70 nmol BSD2 protomer.m2) stably integrated in putative intermediary Rubisco complexes that account for <0.2% of the L8S8pool. RNAi‐silencing BSD2 production in transplastomic tobacco producing bacterial L2 Rubisco had no effect on leaf photosynthesis, cell ultrastructure or plant growth. Genetic crossing the same RNAi‐bsd2 alleles into wild‐type tobacco however impaired L8S8 Rubisco production and plant growth, indicating the only critical function of BSD2 is in Rubisco biogenesis. Agrobacterium mediated transient expression of tobacco, Arabidopsis or maize BSD2 re‐instated Rubisco biogenesis in BSD2‐silenced tobacco. Overexpressing BSD2 in tobacco chloroplasts however did not alter Rubisco content, activation status, leaf photosynthesis rate or plant growth in the field or in the glasshouse at 20°C or 35°C. Our findings indicate BSD2 functions exclusively in Rubisco biogenesis, can efficiently facilitate heterologous plant Rubisco assembly and is produced in amounts non‐limiting to tobacco growth.